Team MRF Tyres win Round 2 of the ERC
Monday was a red letter day for Indian motorsport, as Team MRF Tyres has won round 2 of the 2022 FIA European Rally Championship, their first victory in the series and a massive step forward for the Indian tyre manufacturer. Efrén Llarena and co-driver Sara Fernández won the Azores Rally at Portugal by 2.7 seconds in their Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, beating home heroes Ricardo Moura and co-driver António Costa of their eponymous team Ricardo Moura.
Ricardo Moura was leading the event by 6.1 seconds by the time the penultimate power stage started, which would be crucial in deciding the eventual winner. Having had a tremendous run in the gravel stages, it looked like he was untouchable. However, Efrén Llarena in the Team MRF Tyres car made a spectacular run, storming through the stage and winning the rally by 2.7 seconds.
This is the first time that both Efrén Llarena and Team MRF Tyres have won a rally in the European Rally Championship, one of the most important regional rallying series which acts as a feeder series to the World Rally Championship and has its own chequered history. MRF Tyres has been racing in the series since 2020, and has made steady growth in their performance, culminating in last night’s victory.
Speaking about his performance, Llarena said, “We absolutely pushed really, really hard, especially in the beginning of the stage. In the last part I knew in the first loop I was the fastest in the last sector so I tried to push in the first one and it was okay. I pushed really hard but I was not without brain, so it was okay.”
Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández now stand second in the championship, behind Armindo Araujo by three points. Team MRF Tyres also stands second in the manufacturer’s championship, behind Toksport WRT by 14 points. There are six more rounds to go in the 2022 European Rally Championship, with the Rally Islas Canarias taking place in Gran Canaria in Spain from May 12 to 14. Stay tuned to evo India for more news from the 2022 European Rally Championship, and keep up with Team MRF Tyres’ exploits!